How Lewis Hamilton’s Ferrari move opened door for Wolff to ‘rub salt in Red Bull’s wounds’

Michelle Foster
Max Verstappen smiling as an unimpressed Lewis Hamilton looks on, with prominent Mercedes and Ferrari badges alongside them.

Lewis Hamilton is moving to Ferrari, and Max Verstappen is being linked to his Merc seat

Lewis Hamilton didn’t create the Red Bull drama, but Leo Turrini says his move to Ferrari opened the door for Toto Wolff to “rub salt in the festering wound” with talk of Max Verstappen to Mercedes.

As Red Bull’s drama continues away from the track, speculation that Verstappen could leave the team for Mercedes continues to make headlines.

‘Toto Wolff is doing his job, rubbing salt in the festering wound’

Having tied his future at Red Bull to that of Helmut Marko, when the Austrian announced on Saturday in Saudi Arabia that he “will stay” after meeting with Red Bull’s higher-ups, that’s done little to silence the rumours.

Jos Verstappen, Max’s father, continues to call for Horner to step down as he feels the Briton staying on in the wake of an investigation into his alleged behaviour is “bad” for the team having previously said that Red Bull is “in danger of being torn apart”.

That Verstappen Snr is friends with Mercedes motorsport boss Wolff has added fuel to the flames.

And Wolff wouldn’t say no to signing the younger Verstappen, admitting he would “love to have him” at his team.

“Let’s word it like this,” he added, “I think this is a decision that Max needs to take but there is no team up and down the grid that wouldn’t do handstands to have him in the car.”

Established Italian journalist Turrini reckons Wolff is enjoying this with Hamilton’s decision to join Ferrari opening the door for him to have a comment or two on the Verstappen situation.

“Toto Wolff is doing his job, rubbing salt in the festering wound,” he wrote in his blog.

“And even here we don’t need Einstein: in an environment where everything is held, it was the great coup of John Elkann (read: Hamilton in red from 2025) that blew the cap.

“Because if a seven-time World Champion leaves Mercedes for Ferrari, it is clear that previously unthinkable hypotheses will multiply.

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“Let me explain better: I’m not saying that Horner’s saga was born from Lewis’ move. Of course, that’s another story. But Verstappen’s father, on behalf of his son, winks at Toto because he is about to open up a void.”

As for whether a swap from Red Bull to Mercedes could materialise, he said: “I won’t make any predictions. Post-modern F1 seems like a crazy anthill.”

Turrini, though, does feel plying his trade with another team and winning races and titles outside of Red Bull would go a long way to cementing Verstappen’s amongst Formula 1’s greatest drivers.

“After that, I insist,” he said, “the real trouble is if he always wins with the same car with the same driver.”

But as he then pointed out, no one has done it quite like Verstappen. “Schumi didn’t win 18 out of 19 GPs, Senna didn’t win them, Hamilton didn’t win them. Super Max won them,” he concluded.

Horner, meanwhile, has said if Verstappen wants to leave, Red Bull won’t stand in his way despite the driver having a contract that runs through to 2028.

“You can never say never,” he said of the Dutchman quitting Red Bull. “If a driver doesn’t want to be somewhere, then they’ll go somewhere else.

“It’s like anything in life, you can’t force somebody to be somewhere just because of a piece of paper. If somebody didn’t want to be at this team, then we’re not going to force somebody against their will to be here.

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